‘Strange Beauty Instrumental’ is the instrumental edition of ‘Strange Beauty’ the debut album from producer and multi-instrumentalist Louie Hemus AKA Hemai. A collection of stories of the love, spirit and balance of the universe, the hotly tipped 22-year-old experiments with the idea of movement and the present, bringing together some of his favourite sounds from around the world and melding them with his UK roots.
The release of ‘Strange Beauty’ followed singles “Relight feat. Laura Roy & Woddy Green” which shifts in tempo to accentuate its hidden depths; Japanese Bossa Nova inspired “Noa Noa feat. Emilia Anastazja”; and the mystical “Love Dancer feat. FiFi Robo”. These tracks – alongside tastemaker favourites “Awake Indigo feat. Ruby Wood” and “We Could Be Jaded feat. Layfullstop” – have seen Hemai garner support from the likes of Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Jack Saunders (BBC Radio 1), Jo Whiley (BBC Radio 2), Jamz Supernova (BBC 1Xtra), Alex Noble (BBC Introducing), Tony Minvielle and China Moses (Jazz FM), Papaoul (Worldwide FM), EARMILK, Stereofox and Clash Magazine as he cements his place in the thriving UK jazz and electronic scene.
The vivid and visceral world of ‘Strange Beauty Instrumental’ is unearthed with opener “We Could Be Jaded”. From the first notes of Melbourne-based musician Erica Tucceri’s flute, the electric warmth of the LP is ignited; “the arrangement takes the shape of the horizon”, Hemai explains. Though indicating the beginning of a journey, the track embraces the importance of being grounded in the present, enticing the listener into the experience of Hemai’s ‘Strange Beauty’.
Hemai utilises the elements around him as a driving force throughout the LP. From the imagery of a beautiful sky on “Awake Indigo” – a song born out of his love for music that makes you dance (with the original featuring Submotion Orchestra vocalist Ruby Wood), to the beach and coastal ideas that inspire the freedom and boundless tracks “When Day Breaks” and “Gone Fishing”, the release radiates the joy and spirit that only the natural world can provide. The colours evoked from these experiences also play a part in the final form of the release; “when I’m creating, it’s just the expressive colours I gravitate towards… Yellows, oranges, purples, greens and similar shades”.